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 SRU Campus Saddened to Learn of Death of Philanthropist Mrs. Ethel Carruth 




Contact: K.E. Schwab  -- 724-738-2199;  e-mail:


           SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. –  “The entire Slippery Rock University community is deeply saddened to learn of the death of its longtime friend, benefactor and moving force on campus, Mrs. Ethel Carruth. We will all miss her leadership, dedication and enthusiasm for Slippery Rock University,” said Interim President Robert Smith on learning of Mrs. Carruth’s death Saturday [April 17].

          Mrs. Carruth, 81, mother to Dr. Carolyn Carruth Rizza, and mother-in-law to Dr. Paul Rizza, both retired professors at SRU, died in Houston, Texas.

          Honorary chair of Slippery Rock University’s “Campaign for Slippery Rock University,” a 10-year, $33-million fund raising effort, Mrs. Carruth served as a leader in the on-going campaign by helping launch it with a $2.5 million gift used to renovate and restore a campus landmark. The building is now known as Paul and Carolyn Carruth Rizza Hall, in honor of her daughter and son-in-law, both professors emeritus at SRU with a combined total of 52 years of service. Her gift is the largest ever received by SRU.

          “A very generous benefactor, Mrs. Carruth did not attend Slippery Rock University, but through her daughter and son-in-law saw the need and the potential of our students and agreed to graciously lend her support. In her last visit to campus, she enthusiastically visited with students, faculty and staff and beamed with pride at knowing she was both helping build our reputation and helping students,” Smith added.

           In addition, Mrs. Carruth most recently provided $250,000 for creation of what has been named the “Storm Harbor Equestrian Center” at SRU. The facility, to be built on 20 acres on the east side of campus, will allow students to learn about and implement equine-facilitated therapy within the adapted physical activity and therapeutic recreation program.


           SRU trustees enthusiastically expressed their gratitude for Mrs. Carruth’s latest gift at their recent meeting where they also approved the project’s name, noting it comes from Dr. Carolyn Rizza’s award-winning show horse.


           “Mrs. Carruth’s kindness and generosity will forever impact Slippery Rock University. Her leadership in philanthropy has helped established a culture of giving at SRU that would not have been possible without her. Mrs. Carruth’s greatness was her kindness and her compassion. The university has lost a great friend. She will be missed, and we extend our deepest sympathy to her family,” said Robert Mollenhauer, vice president for university advancement.


        “Mrs Carruth's gift of the equestrian center will have an impact on the lives of so many for years to come,” said Dr. Jane Fulton, dean of the College of Health, Environment and Science, “We will remember her with great fondness.” The center will be housed in Fulton's college.


In presenting her initial contribution to the university, Mrs. Carruth said, “My prayer for the university is that the Lord will continue to guide, direct and bless Slippery Rock University, and that all of the young people who pass through here will acquire a love of learning, love of their fellow man and love for all of earth’s creatures. We also hope that they will be led to give back to the university, their community and the world out of the bounty they have received.” Those words are engraved on a plaque outside Carruth Rizza Hall.


Mrs. Carruth was awarded an Eberly medal by the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education in honor of her philanthropic efforts on behalf of the university. She also established the Ralph Emerson Greasley Memorial Scholarship at SRU in honor of her late father.

           Mrs. Carruth’s late husband, Allen H. “Buddy” Carruth, was a managing partner for the John L. Wortham Insurance Co., of which his father had been a founder. One of his mentors was Gus Wortham, who founded the Wortham Foundation, one of the largest philanthropic foundations in the U.S. A fountain in Carruth Rizza Hall serves as a memorial to Mr. Carruth.      

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